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Water Street Historic District National Historic Site of Canada

Water Street, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1987/06/01

The Water Street Historic District National Historic Site of Canada, 1986.; Agence Parcs Canada/Parks Canada Agency, J. Harris, 1986.
General view
Rear elevations of a row of buildings on Water Street, 1986.; Agence Parcs Canada/Parks Canada Agency, J. Harris, 1986.
General view
No Image

Other Name(s)

Water Street Historic District National Historic Site of Canada
Water Street Historic District
Arrondissement historique de la rue Water

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1847/01/01 to 1916/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/07/10

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

This district comprises some twenty neighbouring former mid-19th-century mercantile buildings on either side of Water Street between Beck’s Cove and Mahon’s Lane, near the St. John’s harbour. The designation refers to the buildings at 288-300 and 291-307 Water Street as well as the Murray Premises National Historic Site of Canada and the land that surrounds them.

Heritage Value

Water Street Historic District was designated a national historic site of Canada because it is a contiguous group of commercial structures that are, for the most part, representative of the mercantile establishments built in St. Johns in the mid 19th century, by those associated with the Newfoundland fisheries and the Atlantic trade.

Erected (with two exceptions) soon after the Great Fire of 1846, the buildings represent the commercial architecture in St. John’s before the 20th century. Their site and setting is also part of their heritage value, illustrating their historical access to the harbour.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 1987.

Character-Defining Elements

Key features contributing to the heritage value of this site include:

- the relationship of the buildings to each other and to the open spaces between and around them;
- siting of most buildings flush to the sidewalk and abutting each other;
- streetside buildings with large retail windows on ground floors;
- the brick and stone construction with timber framing;
- surviving brick nogging;
- vernacular designs with regular fenestration and minimal, classically inspired detailing;
- the consistent two to three-and-a-half storey heights;
- front-sloping gable or flat roofs;
- the unadorned rear elevations;
- the surviving west wing of the O’Dwyer Block in its three-storey, rectangular massing, ashlar facing, Neoclassical inspiration for the geometric, linear design and detailing such as the pediment and pilasters;
- the compatible scale of the Bank of Nova Scotia Building;
- the heritage value of Murray Premises National Historic Site of Canada.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1987/06/01

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1846/01/01 to 1900/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Settlement
Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type

Current

Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Historic

Commerce / Commercial Services
Warehouse
Community
Settlement

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

251

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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